It's Never Too Late: Girls On Ballet Instead Of Fitness

Health 2022

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It's Never Too Late: Girls On Ballet Instead Of Fitness
It's Never Too Late: Girls On Ballet Instead Of Fitness

Video: It's Never Too Late: Girls On Ballet Instead Of Fitness


We used to think of ballet as an exquisite art., inaccessible to most people: from childhood we hear that ballerinas are the slimmest, thinnest and most flexible, but you need to learn this skill from an early age, otherwise it will be too late. Some of us grew up keeping this conviction, while others overcame themselves and learned ballet from a new side. Today it is not only a classic performance to be watched from the height of a velvet chair, but also a great way to keep yourself in shape. Ballet schools for adults appeared, sports trends inspired by classical dance developed. Five girls, for whom ballet with fitness elements is the main physical activity, told us what it gives them and why each of us can start dancing.


Anastasia Isaeva

As a child, I had gutta-percha joints and phenomenally soft ligaments, so the pediatrician advised my mother to send me to rhythmic gymnastics. When I was ten, the whole family went to the Bolshoi Theater to see the Nutcracker ballet. I was impressed by what I saw, I wanted to dance the same way. My parents were against a gymnastic career, so they supported my desire, although no one in the family had encountered the ballet environment and did not know how much effort would have to be put in and how many injuries would have to endure before I could go on stage.

I became a prima ballerina, once I danced the lead role in Swan Lake and my partner dropped me while supporting. After the performance, an ambulance took me with a concussion and many injuries. I finished my stage career, but I had a desire to give the opportunity to practice ballet to everyone who wants it - regardless of age and abilities. I gave master classes and saw many ballet schools: somewhere they believed that before going on stage, children should learn all the basics of classical dance and be able to perform exercise, somewhere - that after 40 years you cannot sit on a split or stand up on pointe shoes. All this does not seem to me a hindrance.

The main direction that I am developing is fitness ballet. It is built on the fundamentals of dance, but adapted for all skill levels. There are many static exercises in classical ballet classes. They are difficult to perform if the muscles are not trained: a person will not be able to use them. For this, in fitness ballet there is a preparatory stage on the carpet, which helps to warm up and feel the ligaments, joints and muscles. I build classes according to the traditional method of teaching ballerinas Agrippina Vaganova, but I include elements of Pilates, stretching, body flex gymnastics, methods of treating Dikul's spine, as well as my own experience (among them, a change in the types of exercises, a stepped level of load and exercises for certain muscle groups).

Like classical ballet, such a complex gives a healthy posture, a beautiful gait and a toned body. In addition, fitness ballet develops a sense of rhythm and coordination of movements. To keep yourself in shape, it is enough to exercise twice a week, and if there is a goal to achieve special success or lose weight - three or more. Whatever the problem, you shouldn't try to solve it in a week. The main thing is a regular load. Do not think that professional ballerinas have chiseled figures because they do not eat anything - in ballet there is a huge physical activity that cannot be sustained if you starve.

Miriam Dragina

I started to study ballet quite late - at 23. I always wanted to dance, but still could not find the time. When I invited a ballerina to dance classes with my daughter, I asked her to tell me the basics and got involved. Now I study three times a week at La Prima school. Thanks to ballet, I began to perceive the body in space differently, to feel and control it.The muscles around the joints and the core stretched, I became more flexible, and my gait became softer. And now I turn not with my head, but with my whole body.

The first year, nothing worked. I felt like an unbending tower about to crack. Once I was walking after another class and met a man whom I really liked. He first offered to drink coffee with him. I refused, realizing that a step away from home - and I won't be able to return, everything hurts so much. Time passed, we met again. And he admitted that then for a long time he did not dare to call me somewhere, and when I decided and I refused, even with such an arrogant face, I realized that I did not like it at all. So the dancing parted us.

Ballet brings not only pain - it gives confidence in your body, the joy of victories, energy, the desire to be better. Classical dance broadens the horizons: this is not monotonous physical education, here you need to think. Ballet forces you to get in shape: muscles dry out and stretch from intense exercise. Usually everyone starts by warming up to a sweat, then in different ways. If the day is devoted to stretching the back, then swings, bridges and so on follow. If the parallel twine, then most of the lesson is devoted to the groin muscles, and, in fact, we work out the twine at the very end. There are also separate days for the machine. At the end of the class, we usually practice on pointe.

The main difficulty is to decide for more, to force yourself to take another approach, even if you already have very little strength. During the lesson, all muscles work - even those that seemed never to be inside. Much can be discovered in oneself. Ballet can be traumatic - if you place your foot incorrectly, it is not enough to twist the joints, the load is not properly distributed. This is not a simple exercise, not a dance for pleasure - this is serious. But one has only to start and regularly study for at least a year - each achievement will become a discovery.


Mary Helen Bowers

I was part of the New York City Ballet for ten years and during that time I learned to take care of my body. By creating Ballet Beautiful, I found a way to share my knowledge with a wide range of people. This is not classical ballet classes, but a series of workouts inspired by him, which gives any person the opportunity to build a ballet body: dry, with long muscles and chiseled shapes. Dancers' bodies are unique due to the large number of muscles they use in their daily workouts. I combined classical exercises with fitness. This allows everyone to work out the muscles of the legs, torso, buttocks, arms and abs just like ballerinas - without weights and equipment.

I start with stretching to relax and warm the body, then tone specific muscle groups with carpet exercises. After that, dance cardio begins - about 15-20 minutes of exercises from classical ballet, jumps and training at the barn. At the end - exercises for the press, which include static and vacuum, and working out the muscles on the arms - both with the help of ballet movements and positions, and on the carpet. In order to functionally build the muscles, stretching should be done after each exercise.

To keep myself in shape, I only do fitness ballet, not counting fiddling with my two daughters. In my opinion, the key to a healthy, well-defined body isn't killing yourself with hours of cardio. It is important to work with the resistance of your body and work out individual muscles. My favorite techniques are ballet squats and exercises for the glutes and hips in the "bridge" pose. To see significant changes, I recommend practicing for an hour three to five times a week. In two to three weeks, the body will be toned. This is the difference between my method and classical ballet classes, which are not enough for a non-professional to keep himself in shape. In fitness ballet, beginners pretty quickly begin to feel their body and own it - you get used to it.Natalie Portman began training with me to prepare for her role in Black Swan: six years have passed since the premiere, but even now she continues to study from time to time.

Natalia Golovnina

I came to ballet from rhythmic gymnastics: after finishing my career, I was a coach of a children's and youth sports school, and then retrained as a ballet dancer. Through dancing, the body becomes flexible and coordinated. The main plus is that the entire muscle corset is actively working, this is how ballet differs from ordinary fitness training.

Any lesson, be it classic or other, follows the same pattern: warm-up, main part, cool down and stretching at the end of the workout. If you follow your diet (for me, it's enough to limit carbohydrates), consistently engage in three times a week, combining classical dance classes with a more energetic fitness direction body ballet and adding stretching, you can not only keep fit, but also, if you wish, get rid of excess weight. Music helps a lot to get in the right mood during class. When I teach body ballet, I like to conduct classes with modern music with a pronounced rhythm, but for classical exercises the classical accompaniment is best suited.

I like that ballet is gaining popularity in wide circles and is perceived as a kind of physical activity. In its modern form of teaching, it is a good alternative to the gym or running. You can recharge with energy and get emotional bonuses: after classes, the mood rises, lightness appears in the body and mind, I am so charged that I want to move mountains. This is facilitated by full dedication in training and participation in the "circumpolar" life - for example, we always follow new productions with interest.


Anna Mitrokhova

I went to a running camp a couple of years ago. In my group was Katya, a choreography teacher at the Seasons dance theater for children. I told her that I always wanted to try dancing, but I thought that ballet should be practiced exclusively from a young age. Before that, I looked closely at classes for adults, but the reviews were scary: as if the teachers want you to understand and remember everything. It was scary to come to the group and look like a fool. Katya seemed like a professional, her posture caused good envy, and I decided to try. I started to study with her once a week, then twice a week, and a year later we gathered a group, rented a hall and created a Simple Ballet school. Now I train three times a week with girls and one more - at home or with Katya. Without her, I would not have started: Katya knows how to explain well, corrects in time and selects apt comparisons for my mistakes.

The movements in ballet classes look simple, but in order to properly take your leg to the side, you need to strain your foot, calves, hips, butt, abs and back. And a hand, if it is not on the machine. By the end of the warm-up period, my clothes are usually wet, and by the end of the session, sometimes even my hair. In addition to ballet, I sometimes run, do push-ups and do foot exercises. This is important for a beginner: stability and strong stops are the base. Ballet makes the whole body work without isolating the muscles. Over time, the back, abs and sides form a tight corset, the legs become stronger and well defined.

The first year it was funny to look at yourself in the mirror, especially when spinning: Katya made a swing with her hand, gracefully rose on her toes and turned 360 degrees on one leg. Then I, swinging my arms and legs, did something that resembled the dying convulsions of a manatee. It can be offensive from her remarks, but this is ballet, and it is not sugar. It’s hard work, discipline and routine, not running a marathon on a coup. Sometimes it seems that you will never be able to advance further, but you just need to work - and the leap will take place.

Ballet has given me more than any other kind of exercise. I stopped slouching and clubfoot, although I was sure that at 28 this could not be changed, I began to stand, sit and walk differently.I feel flexible, thin and very strong - this is the best feeling in the world. I eat like in childhood - intuitively and only when I want to. The only rule is a very small breakfast before class, so that the stomach is drawn in without problems and satiety does not interfere with getting ready. With all the pasta, bread, desserts, and creamy sauces, in two years of class, I returned to the weight I was at when I was 19. And I, of course, will be glad when I sit on a split or learn to dance well, but this is not the main thing. I like the feeling when at the beginning of the lesson you put your hands on a wooden loom, I like sewing elastic bands to ballet flats, I like leotards and swimsuits with a bare back. I like it even when it doesn't work out. This journey is a process for a process sake.

Photos: The Royal Ballet School, The national ballet of Canada (1, 2), Ballet Met

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